In table-toppers clash, FC Goa proves who is top gun

Brandonless Gaurs put it across Kerala Blasters with a Rowllin Borges goal to scramble back to the top of the table
Players of FC Goa and Kerala Blasters in action during the Indian Super League match.
Players of FC Goa and Kerala Blasters in action during the Indian Super League match. Photo: FSDL

One needs to have chaos within to give birth to a star and FC Goa triumphed in 90 minutes of chaos to finish as a star and climb back to the top of the table of the 10th edition of the Indian Super league (ISL) at the Nehru Stadium at Fatorda on Sunday.

Watched by a good number of supporters, both teams failed to take the game to entertaining notches, with the midfield of both unable to script exciting football through 90 minutes.

Players of FC Goa and Kerala Blasters in action during the Indian Super League match.
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FC Goa started without Brandon Fernandes and his absence took the sheen off their creative play with the team opting to adopt the box style and abandoning their known long ball run on a roll game.

Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, found in Sandesh Jhingan a star bursting with his timely interceptions and ability to be there to stop them from damaging his team’s citadel, especially in the second half.

Players of FC Goa and Kerala Blasters in action during the Indian Super League match.
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Kerala Blasters’ Adrian Luna could not liberate himself to create chances or be able to score for his team as the FC Goa rule of the evening was simple – give him no space – and with Luna shuffling between the centre and last third, with rules all around, Kerala Blasters played without ammunition.

Both teams started cautiously and Kerala created the first opportunity when the game was 14 minutes old through Kwame Peprah, who ran around 30 yards and with just FC Goa keeper Arshdeep Singh to beat, missed the net by inches.

Adrian Luna and Pritam Kotal of Kerala Blasters in action.
Adrian Luna and Pritam Kotal of Kerala Blasters in action. Photo: FSDL

The next opportunity fell two minutes later to FC Goa’s Victor Rodriguez who, with a chance, hesitated and let go an opportunity. Noah, who appeared quiet, smelt an opportunity a few minutes later, but blew it away.

Just when it appeared that the two teams would be marching in for the lemon break, sharing the spoils, Rowllin Borges latched on to a free kick – with an awkward turn – to score the first and only goal of the evening.

Boris Singh Thangjam and Noah Sadaoui celebrate as FC Goa scored a goal against Kerala Blasters.
Boris Singh Thangjam and Noah Sadaoui celebrate as FC Goa scored a goal against Kerala Blasters. Photo: FSDL

Rowllin, who had to be substituted after scoring, and Carl Mchugh were not able to split open the Kerala Blasters defence and Raynier Fernandes who came in place of Brandon lacked the mastery of the latter.

Raynier had a chance to open the account for his team towards the closing stages of the first session and so did Sandesh but both fumbled. Yet, FC Goa who started with caution, finished with joy.

While FC Goa held sway in the first half, Kerala looked like a better side in the second.
While FC Goa held sway in the first half, Kerala looked like a better side in the second. Photo: FSDL

Kerala Blasters started the second session with different energy but not energetic enough to disturb FC Goa’s game plan – strangle Luna’s liberty. Despite earning six corners to FC Goa’s one, Kerala never showed potency in their attack. The spirit of Ivan Vukomanovic was silent.

Kerala Blasters created its best chance in the 58th minute, which saw the best save of the evening when FC Goa’s Arshdeep Singh had to fling himself to his left to stop Mohammed Aimen’s shot from entering into the goal.

The full 90-minute play was fast paced till the end.
The full 90-minute play was fast paced till the end. Photo: FSDL

As the clock ticked towards closing time, FC Goa defended in numbers, with Sandesh adding the most and the Kerala Blasters getting no clear sight of goal. It was getting clearer that the celebration of the feast of St Francis Xavier would be special for FC Goa.

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